A prolific paedophile convicted of multiple sex crimes against children died a few months after beginning a 12 year jail sentence.
Frail pensioner David Palin, 75, died from a combination of heart disease, pneumonia and cirrhosis of the liver at privately-run HMP Altcourse in Fazakerley on April 22 last year. He had been housed in Altcourse since he was remanded in custody on January 31, 2022, and remained there after he was sentenced on February 2.
A jury at Chester Crown Court had heard Palin, from the Crewe area, molested three female victims who were all under 13 at the time of the abuse. He was convicted after a week long trial of 17 sexual offences, covering a period which began in the early 1970s, when he was in his 20s, through to 2004.
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The court heard one of the victims came forward in 2002 but the investigation was closed. However, when two further victims came forward in 2017, the case was reopened by Cheshire Police and a complex and lengthy investigation began.
The circumstances of his death were investigated by the Prison and Probation Ombudsman (PPO), which examines all deaths in custody. Kimberly Bingham, acting PPO, raised concerns in a report published this month about the care Palin, who had multiple conditions including type 2 diabetes and was “doubly incontinent”, received when he became ill in April this year.
According to the report, on April 8, 2022, a prison nurse noticed that Palin’s blood sugar levels were “very high”, and the following day, April 9, a prison GP also recorded high levels.
Later that day he was reviewed by a healthcare assistant (HCA) after reporting he had been sick. The HCA recorded a score using the national NEWS2 system, a tool for assessing unwell patients. That observation was repeated again on April 9.
Later that month, Palin’s health deteriorated further. The PPO report states: “On April 20, a prison GP saw Mr Palin. She noted that he appeared jaundiced and requested that blood tests be taken. However, there is no record in Mr Palin’s medical records to indicate that the blood tests were arranged.”
Later that evening, a prison nurse again noted that Palin’s blood sugar levels were high and she called for a non-emergency ambulance to transport him to hospital for checks. In the meantime, arrangements were made to monitor him twice hourly in the prison.
The PPO report said: “When she reviewed him at 1.35am the following morning, Mr Palin was unresponsive. She radioed a medical emergency code blue (indicating a prisoner is unconscious or is having breathing difficulties) and started cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Control room staff immediately upgraded the earlier request for an ambulance to urgent.
“Paramedics arrived in the healthcare inpatient unit at 1.44am and took over Mr Palin’s care but he did not respond. At 2.26am, the paramedics confirmed that Mr Palin had died.”
The ombudsman investigating the death said a clinical reviewer concluded that Palin was not given the equivalent standard of healthcare he could expect in the community.
The report stated: “She was concerned that a prison nurse did not act correctly when she recorded a raised NEWS2 score. The clinical reviewer also noted that on the evening of April 8 , a prison nurse had recorded Mr Palin had a raised blood sugar level. However, despite him being a type 2 diabetic, there is no evidence in his medical records to suggest further blood sugar levels were taken.
“Mr Palin’s secondary health screen was not carried out within seven days of his initial health screen, contrary to national guidance. There is no evidence that a hot debrief for the staff involved in the emergency response took place after Mr Palin died as it should have done.”
G4S, which runs HMP Altcourse, declined to comment.